Thursday, August 30, 2018

Summer notes from Pontyclun

Bailey Bridge

Most readers will be aware of the Bailey Bridge across the River Ely at the end of Station Terrace. It is the property of the owner of the Ely Valley Business Park but it is a public right of way and the owner has a legal obligation not to obstruct walkers.
This path is used by hundreds of residents each day who need to get to the station, the schools, nurseries, shops, community centre, doctor, dentist, post office and many other facilities.
It is therefore with dismay that I must report that RCT Council has agreed to prohibit access for walkers to cross this bridge for the months of September, October and November, perhaps longer.
RCT Council will be providing special buses for school children and commuters but for others the invitation is to use an alternative walking route of over two kilometres. The charity, Travol, provides an ‘on-demand’ bus service for people aged over 60. Ring 01443 486872.
RCT Council reports the bridge will be reconstructed as a partnership between the owner and the Council. This, the Council says, is necessary because the bridge will otherwise become structurally unsafe in a short period of time. And yet, even today I witnessed a succession of 7 ton lorries cross this bridge.  If there is structural deterioration, why not require that all vehicles use the access through Coed Cae Lane and reserve the bridge for walkers only – I am convinced that it is safe for this purpose.
Pontyclun Community Council has never been consulted on the closure of this path or invited to suggest options for maintaining this right of way.
In my view this has all been poorly managed and the reasons for closing the walking route are less than convincing.

Grass Cutting
Pontyclun residents, the Community Council and RCT Council are developing innovative schemes for managing grass in ways which meet the needs of residents, walkers, motorists and wild life.
Whilst grass is being mown in the traditional manner near to roadsides and pavements and in play areas, we are looking for areas where the grass can be left uncut for the growing months. If it is then cut and collected late in the summer, this will allow the natural diversity of local plants and wildlife to prosper.
Pontyclun Park was created by Pontyclun Community Council in 2016. In our grass cutting contract we agreed with RCT Council that a swathe of grass would be left uncut until late Summer when RCT brings in their innovative new machine to cut and collect the grass.
In the last month Pontyclun Environment Group volunteers met with Richard Wistow, the inspiring RCT Council ecologist, who had us all on our hands and knees studying the diverse vegetation down amongst the long dry, yellow grass of our long, hot summer. We saw a range of wildflowers that included black knapweed, bird’s-foot trefoil, red clover, ox-eye daisy, St. john’s-wort, self heal, common spotted orchid and field scabious – all survivors of the historic Ely valley species rich grasslands. This is an excellent insect habitat and we saw a range of bees (including red tailed and carder bumble-bees) and a colony of the beautiful, jewel-like common blue butterfly.
In some areas, such as at the Talygarn roadside, it is not possible to collect the grass with machines and residents have volunteered to collect and bag the cut grass. Councils and communities work best when they work together.

Aethon ni I’r Eisteddfod Genedlaethol yn Nghaerdydd i helpu gyda’r stondin U3A. Gaethon ni llawer o hwyl.  
We went to the National Eisteddfod in Cardiff. Being part of such a huge cultural festival in the centre of the capital city was great fun as we represented Pontyclun U3A on a stall.

Pontyclun U3A
Our University of the Third Age will be back in full swing in September. There are now 16 learning groups (including Spanish and Welsh, history, walking and lunching) which you can join. They are all great fun as well as offering ways in which we can learn from each other. Details can be found on the website  https//
Each month all members and potential members are invited to a monthly talk. On 17 September at 1.30 p.m. in the Community Centre I will be giving a talk on the ‘The Clarks of Pontyclun’ considering the remarkable life of the Dowlais ironmaster George Clark and the contribution of his family to the creation of modern Pontyclun.

Pontyclun Road Runners
Most weeks I am privileged to enjoy at least a 5k run with Pontyclun Road Runners. We really should congratulate the volunteers who create this amazing opportunity for 376 members to enjoy a run with friends – women, men, all ages and all abilities. If I can enjoy a run at my age– so can most Pontyclun residents! Details at

2 Wish upon a Star
Rhian Burke is the remarkable Pontyclun resident who created the charity2 Wish Upon A Star’ which provides bereavement support for families who have suddenly and traumatically lost a child or young adult.
This charity has organised a ‘Family Run Day’ on September 9th at Llandow race circuit. It will include a fancy dress elephant dash for the under 7's, a shorter family run of 2k and a 5k run for the serious family members. If you go along you will meet members of Pontyclun Road Runners who are supporting this charity event.

Cllr Paul Griffiths
Chair of Pontyclun Community Council
e.mail: chair
Tel.      01443 229301

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